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AstraZeneca reports rise in annual profits

LONDON, Jan 27, 2011 – Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca on Thursday announced a seven percent rise in net profits for 2010 to more than $8.0 billion.

The group said in a statement that earnings after tax grew to $8.053 billion from $7.521 in 2009.

"Our performance in 2010 underlines the strength and resilience of AstraZeneca\’s business," group chief executive David Brennan said in a statement.

"Despite government pricing pressures and anticipated patent expiries in the US and Western Europe, our revenues remained in line with the previous year driven by excellent performance of our key brands and continued growth in Emerging Markets.

"This performance, combined with disciplined management of the business enabled us to deliver increased earnings, increase the dividend and return residual cash to shareholders through share repurchases," he added.

The group added that net profit increased 4.4 percent to $1.621 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with earnings of $1.553 billion a year earlier.

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